Obama 'Bitterly Disappointed' in Biden

Monday, 13 Apr 2009 12:08 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama Appoints Pope-Basher to Religious Panel
2. Obama 'Bitterly Disappointed' in Biden
3. U.S. Expecting Clash With Netanyahu
4. Obama Taking U.S. to 'Very Different Place'
5. Cheney Keeping Records From Bush Library
6. Conservative Rips GM's 'Puma' Scooter
7. Russian Auto Bailout — No Strings Attached
8. We Heard: Tony Blair, David Patterson
 

1. Obama Appoints Pope-Basher to Religious Panel

President Barack Obama has appointed a gay-rights activist and a critic of Pope Benedict XVI to the federal government’s faith-based initiative board.

Harry Knox has been appointed to Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Knox is director of the religion and faith program at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a homosexual activist organization.

He has referred to the Pope as a “discredited leader” and attacked the Catholic Knights of Columbus because of the group’s support of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that passed last November and defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.

“The Knights of Columbus do a great deal of good in the name of Jesus Christ, but in this particular case they were foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression,” Knox told the San Francisco-based Bay Area Reporter on March 19.

The newspaper reported, “Knox noted that the Knights of Columbus ‘followed discredited leaders,’ including bishops and Pope Benedict, ‘a Pope who literally today said condoms don’t help in the control of AIDS.’”

During his trip to Africa, Pope Benedict said that distributing condoms was not the answer to the problem of AIDS, and asserted that the best strategy was the church's efforts to promote sexual responsibility through abstinence and monogamy.

On April 6, Knox told the Cybercast News Service’s Web site CNSNews: “The Pope needs to start telling the truth about condom use. We are eager to help him do that.

"Until he is willing to do that and able, he’s doing a great deal more harm than good — not just in Africa but around the world. It is endangering people’s lives.”

Knox posted a statement on the HRC Web site on Monday saying that as a member of the 25-member Advisory Council, he “will support the president in living up to his promise that government has no place in funding bigotry against any group of people.”

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, told CNSNews that the appointment of Knox “is exactly the kind of bastardization of common sense that the Obama people are putting forth. Quite frankly, I would prefer to see the entire faith-based initiative closed down . . .

“I’d rather people simply be honest and say we don’t believe in faith-based initiatives as they were initially intended by the previous administration, and what we’re going to do is thoroughly politicize them with these gay activists.”

President George W. Bush’s faith-based efforts focused on religious non-profit organizations, while Obama “has changed the focus to target community groups, religious and secular,” CNSNews reported.

Other members of Obama’s Advisory Board include the Rev. Otis Moss Jr., whose son replaced the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as pastor of Obama’s former church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago; the Rev. Jim Wallis, who has been called the “leader of the religious left” by The New York Times; and Rabbi David Saperstein, who denounced the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 for upholding the federal ban on partial-birth abortions.

Editor's Note:



2. President ‘Bitterly Disappointed’ in Biden

Newsmax has learned from sources in Washington that President Barack Obama is “bitterly disappointed” in his vice president,       Joe Biden.

The sources say Obama feels Biden was excellent in the Senate, where he chaired the Foreign Relations Committee. But they whisper to the media that the president and some advisers believe Biden has been a dismal failure as vice president, often being “not on message” and unpredictable.

Biden raised concerns within the Obama camp even before the November election, when he said that if his running mate was elected president, he would almost immediately be challenged with an international crisis that would test his strength and character.

The remarks prompted newsman Dan Rather to say that the Obama campaign “can’t be happy” about the comments.

Obama also couldn’t have been happy when Biden poked fun at the president’s ego at the Gridiron Club’s annual dinner on March 23. He said Obama “can’t be here tonight, because he’s busy getting ready for Easter.” Then he added in a hushed voice: “He thinks it’s about him.”

More recently, Biden caught heat from Republican strategist Karl Rove, who called Biden a “liar” for concocting a story about President George W. Bush “out of whole cloth.”

Biden told CNN on Tuesday about what he claimed was a meeting with Bush in the Oval Office: “'Well, Joe,' he said, 'I’m a leader.' And I said, 'Mr. President, turn around and look behind you. No one’s following.'”

Said Rove, a close Bush adviser: “It didn’t happen . . . He’s making these things up out of whole cloth.”

Rove also called Biden a “blowhard” and “serial exaggerator.”

Editor's Note:



3. U.S. Expecting Clash With Netanyahu

The Obama administration is preparing for a possible confrontation with new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his reluctance to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

U.S. officials have briefed senior Democratic congressmen in recent weeks about the possibility of deep differences between the U.S. and Israel over the peace process.

The briefings are intended to “foil the possibility” that Netanyahu may attempt to bypass the White House by rallying support in Congress, the Israeli paper Haaretz reported.

Administration officials have made it clear to congressmen that while President Obama is committed to the security of Israel, he considers the two-state solution central to his Middle East policy.

In his speech before the Turkish parliament last week, Obama declared, “Let me be clear: The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.”

After the speech, a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem said, “You’d have to be blind not to be able to see the writing on the wall,” ynetnews.com reported.

Obama intends to ask Netanyahu to fulfill the commitments made by previous Israeli governments, including the acceptance of a Palestinian state, the freezing of settlement activity, evacuating illegal settlements and providing economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

However, new Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman insists Israel is not bound by previous agreements. He said on Wednesday: "Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong. It's the other way around — it will lead to more wars."

American officials say they will listen to Netanyahu’s position when he meets with Obama in Washington next month, according to Haaretz.

But the U.S. and Israel could also be headed for a clash over Iran and its nuclear program. Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday issued a warning to the Israeli government, saying it would be "ill-advised" to carry out a military strike against Iranian nuclear sites.

Editor's Note:



4. Obama Taking U.S. to ‘Very Different Place’

For President Barack Obama, America’s ship of state is an oil tanker, not a speedboat.

At a town hall meeting with 100 Turkish university students in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, Obama promised a “new chapter of American engagement” with the world, but cautioned that turning American policy in a new direction would take time.

“States are like big tankers. They’re not like speedboats,” he said in response to a question about the differences between himself and his predecessor, George W. Bush.

“You can’t just whip them around and go in another direction. You turn them slowly, and eventually you end up in a very different place.”

The remarks confirm that Obama envisions serious changes ahead as the U.S. heads for that “very different place.”

Obama also used a maritime analogy when discussing the U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

“Moving the ship of state takes time,” he said, adding that the withdrawal has to be done “in a careful enough way that we don’t see a collapse into violence.”

Editor's Note:



5. Cheney Keeping Records From Bush Library

Officials with the Bush Foundation expected that former Vice President Dick Cheney’s papers and artifacts from office would be stored at the Bush Library in Texas, but Cheney wants to keep them in Washington, D.C., for the time being.

An architect working on the library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas said in October that Cheney’s records would be located at the library, and space has been allotted for his papers there.

But Cheney later asked the National Archives to store his records in Washington, and a Cheney spokesperson said he anticipated needing access to his papers while working on his memoirs, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Vice presidents can choose where to keep their official and personal records, which are given to the National Archives and Records Administration when they leave office.

George H.W. Bush’s Vice President Dan Quayle sent his records to Bush's library in College Station, Texas, while the records of Al Gore, Bill Clinton’s veep, remain at the National Archives in Washington.

The Cheney spokesperson said no decision has been made about the ultimate destination of Cheney’s records.

Editor's Note:



6. Conservative Rips GM’s ‘Puma’ Scooter

Peter Flaherty, president of the conservative National Legal and Policy Center, is sharply critical of an experimental vehicle being developed by cash-strapped General Motors.

The vehicle, called the Puma, is an odd-looking two-wheel, two-seat scooter that runs on batteries and can reach a top speed of 35 miles per hour.

Flaherty appeared on CNBC on Tuesday after a prototype of the Puma was unveiled and declared: “I question what GM is doing. They have days and weeks to figure out how the company is going to survive. They don’t have years. What in the world are they doing working on this experimental project?

“Perhaps it has something to do with the availability of federal funding . . . meant to encourage electric cars. That’s what you get when you introduce government money — you get unintended consequences, and in this case, very weird results.”

Flaherty continued his attack on GM, which was granted a $17.4 billion loan by the federal government in December and is seeking additional funding to avoid bankruptcy.

“How long is the taxpayer going to have to fund this process?” said Flaherty, whose organization monitors abuse and corruption in the public and private sectors.

“I want them to build cars that they can sell at a profit to consumers who want them. In a capitalist system, in order for companies to survive at some point they have to turn a profit. When is GM going to turn a profit?

“What I’m worried about is that the 'anticar' activists, who are really behind things like this Puma, want us all riding bicycles. They want us riding bicycles to light rail so that we have socialized transportation.

“And what’s with this name, 'Puma'? I thought the puma was an endangered species. Is it because GM is an endangered company?”

Editor's Note:



7. Russian Auto Bailout — No Strings Attached

Russia is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up its troubled auto industry — without any of the strings the U.S. government attached to its bailout of General Motors and Chrysler.

The Russian government has promised $730 million in interest-free loans and $230 million in loans from state banks at favorable rates to benefit the auto manufacturer Avtovaz, which makes its Lada car at a sprawling factory in Tolyatti, 460 miles southeast of Moscow.

State banks have promised to help Avtovaz raise an additional
$2.6 billion from banks.

But the factory is “one of the least efficient automobile factories anywhere in the world,” according to The New York Times, producing an average of just eight vehicles a year per worker compared to 36 per worker at a GM plant in Kentucky.

And new car sales in Russia are projected to fall by as much as      50 percent this year.

Yet the government has not pressured the company to fire its executives, renegotiate workers’ contracts, or produce better or more fuel-efficient vehicles, and there have been no layoffs.

“But the auto bailout, Russian style, is intended more to ensure peace in the streets than to restructure a business, much to the lament of some critics who think tough love might be better,” according to the Times.

There has been growing unrest in Russia over the country’s economic downturn and layoffs. Riot police had to be called out in December to disperse an angry crowd when a GM joint venture at Tolyatti laid off 400 workers.

More than 100,000 assembly line workers are employed at the huge Tolyatti factory, which has over 90 miles of production lines, and the plant’s management claims that the factory and its suppliers support 2 million jobs.

So, to keep the peace, the Russian government, one union official told The Times, “will print enough money to pay these people.”

Editor's Note:



8. We Heard . . .

THAT former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is commanding larger speaking fees than former U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Blair earned more than $570,000 for two half-hour speeches during a recent visit to the Philippines, and has made over $21 million since leaving office nearly two years ago, according to The Times of London.

Clinton was earning about $150,000 per speech but cut back on his speaking engagements after his wife Hillary became secretary of state, and Bush has reportedly commanded $150,000 per speech since leaving the White House.

THAT New York Gov. David Patterson’s chances of winning re-election in 2010 are bleaker than ever.

Democrat Patterson’s approval rating stands at all-time low of just   28 percent, while 60 percent of voters — the highest percentage for any New York governor — disapprove of his performance, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Only 22 percent of respondents believe that Patterson, who became governor in March 2008 after Eliot Spitzer resigned in the midst of a call-girl scandal, deserves to be elected to a four-year term in 2010; 63 percent — including 52 percent of Democrats — say he does not deserve to be elected.

Patterson has raised the ire of voters by sharply increasing taxes.

The poll also disclosed that New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo would thrash Patterson in a Democratic primary  — 61 percent to 18 percent.


Editor’s Notes:

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